While the desire to see Muslims come to Christ is an indication of love, treating people simply as potential converts makes them feel like projects. Our love for them has to be for them as individuals or they will likely reject our message.
Most Muslims know that Christianity is based on love, and are looking to see the love written in the Bible displayed in our lives. I was looking for it in my Christian friends, and saw little of it at first. They only related to me at that time in order to convert me, showing little care about me otherwise.
I listened patiently to them for quite some time, but then decided to tell them how I felt. I told them that if I had to become like them in order to be a Christian, then I never wanted to be a Christian. I felt that they lacked love for me, denying the validity of their message. When they heard it, they, to their credit, went and prayed long prayers of repentance before God, asking for another chance to share the love of Christ with me properly (I found out about this after I became a Christian). They changed. They began treating me like a person rather than a target, and some of them even became friends. That was much more convincing to me than them trying to make me convert. Their change was certainly not the most important part of me becoming a Christian (divine intervention was), but it did help.
What I am writing is not limited to Muslim ministry. I think that all people want to be treated with love. Non-Christians measure us by our love for them and for other Christians. We probably should ask ourselves how we’re doing in that area. Let’s really love rather than have those we’re ministering to and interacting with say, “Love? Really?”
Keywords: Muslim ministry, real love
MMM, so true! We must be a point of presence, allowing others to experience God through their contact with us: His glory, His love, His longing to gather His children to Himself. To do that we must pause and allow Him to saturate us with His love for the person we feel directed to. There is no shortcut, but it’s worth every second of the delay (even if it’s hours, days, weeks, months or even years) because in waiting for Him we often receive specific words of love that speak profoundly to the secret places of the heart. And in allowing HIM to set the urgency of the situation, rather than our own need for self-worth through accomplishment, we are often ushered in to those astonishing moments where He speaks profound things through us on the spot in the moment. He is God and we are not.
Good thoughts, Tom.